Skin infections are very common & can often lead to symptoms like redness, swelling & sores

There are many different types of skin infection. Most are mild, but they can become serious if they’re not treated. It’s important to recognise the symptoms and visit your doctor for an examination so they can prescribe an appropriate treatment. 

What causes a skin infection?

When your skin is broken, by something like a cut, bite, graze or piercing, there is a risk that germs can enter the wound and cause an infection.

Most skin infections are mild and will only affect the surface layers of the skin, but more serious infections can penetrate to deeper layers of tissue underneath. 

People with eczema can be at greater risk of a skin infection, as germs can enter any breaks in the skin.

Common types of infection include impetigo, cellulitis, and ringworm. 

What are the symptoms of a skin infection?

The symptoms of a skin infection will vary depending on the type of infection. Common symptoms include:

• Discoloration

• Swelling

• Tenderness or pain

• Sores or pimples

Signs of a more serious infection include:

• Fever or sickness

• Discharge

• Red streaks

How to treat a skin infection

If you experience discomfort or any serious symptoms, you should visit a doctor to get the infection examined as soon as possible.

Your doctor should be able to diagnose the type of infection and will usually prescribe one of three treatments depending on your condition:

• A course of an antibiotic for a bacterial infection

• Antiviral medication for a viral infection

• Antifungal creams or oral medication for a fungal infection

Boots Online Doctor* offers a service which can provide treatment for the skin infection impetigo.

Preventing a skin infection

Regularly washing and sanitising your hands is one of the best ways to help prevent infection.

Make sure you wash any cut or wound with soap and water. Once dry, you can add some anti-septic cream to the affected area. If you cover the wound with a plaster or dressing, you can help to prevent germs entering the wound. Make sure plasters and dressings are only applied to clean skin and are changed regularly.

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible if any cut or wound is long or deep, or does not stop bleeding.

*Access to treatment is subject to a consultation with a clinician to assess suitability and eligibility. Charges apply.